Can the media tell the truth anymore? For FISC warrants (this one supposedly was), the requests generally come from the FBI or NSA; but the US Attorney General can act without a warrant if “an emergency exists” for up to 7 days and has to ultimately request the warrant. That is why Comey came out. He basically said that his dept did not request one and left the denial in the DOJ’s hands (Loretta Lynch) which has yet to be done.
Also, it’s also VERY RARE for the request to be denied, which according to news, the original request was denied for Trump. For 1979 to 2013, the FISA court granted 33,942 warrants, with only 12 denials — a rejection rate of 0.03 percent of the total requests. Furthermore, “the Obama Administration secretly won permission from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to reverse restrictions on the National Security Agency’s use of intercepted phone calls and e-mails, permitting the agency to search deliberately for Americans’ communications in its massive databases. The searches take place under a surveillance program Congress authorized in 2008 under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Under that law, the target must be a foreigner “reasonably believed” to be outside the United States, and the court must approve the targeting procedures in an order good for one year. But a warrant for each target would thus no longer be required. That means that communications with AMERICANS could be picked up WITHOUT A COURT FIRST DETERMINING THAT THERE IS PROBABLE CAUSE that the people they were talking to were terrorists, spies or “foreign powers.” The FISC also extended the length of time that the NSA is allowed to retain intercepted U.S. communications from five years to six years with an extension possible for foreign intelligence or counterintelligence purposes. Both measures were done without public debate or any specific authority from Congress.” So, no, this situation is not normal protocol and the media is not telling the full story. They did not have to prove probable cause if they determined foreigners were involved, which is the argument with Russia.
This situation is what Snowden was screaming about.